There has been a raging controversy on about the bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before abortion in the state of Virginia.

Fresh attention has now been focused on the issue with Gov. Robert F. McDonnell now backing off on the controversial requirement of women wanting an abortion having to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds.

The Virginia Bill required an ultrasound prior to abortion

The proposed law that would require women to undergo an invasive form of screening before undergoing an abortion has now been diluted, since according to the governor it is not the proper role for the state to mandate an invasive procedure to give informed consent, which is the aim of the bill.

Virginia BillThough the governor has an anti abortion stance, he is of the view that no one should have to undergo an invasive procedure as a precondition to undergoing another medical procedure as a legal requirement.

At first the requirement was only that women undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion.

But what the lawmakers had not taken into account is the fact that early on in a pregnancy many women would have to undergo the more invasive transvaginal ultrasound (where the probe is inserted via the vagina) to establish gestational age.

President Obama’s contraception proposal

Another women’s health issue that is attracting debate and controversy is the proposal made by president Barrack Obama that would enable women to get contraception via their employer-sponsored health insurance.

There has been the obvious opposition to this proposal from the church which has protested against it, which was something seen as a violation of religious teaching.

However groups such as the church wouldn’t directly have to pay for the contraception but would only have to pay for health insurance for employees.

This health insurance would also cover contraception, so the church is actually absolved of the requirement of actually paying for something that is against its basic tenets. So this is a compromise solution that respects the religious liberties that citizens are guaranteed, and which also takes care of an important women’s health issue; that of access to contraception.

There is also the fact that birth control pills have benefits beyond preventing pregnancy: they are prescribed for a number of conditions such as premenstrual syndrome, as a way of regularizing irregular periods, resolving pelvic inflammatory disease and benign breast disease, functional cysts and even migraines.

Considering all of this, increasing and easing women’s access to contraception is an important step in the right direction for women’s health.